The founder of Asia Art Tours, Matthew Dagher-Margosian interviews the world's most unique people for conversations on art, travel, politics and creativity.
Joanna Lillis: On the Real Politics & Lives of Central Asia
To discuss Central Asia, I spoke to Joanna Lillis, author of: Dark Shadows: Inside the Secret World of Kazakhstan. We have a far-reaching discussion on Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan and the real lives of people living in these diverse and dynamic nations.
A journalist with over 20 years of experience living in Central Asia, Joanna has an unparalleled knowledge on the region and is able to host a fascinating discussion on the different politics of the various nations of Central Asia, as well as the differing desires of their citizens.
We discuss the USSR/Russia's imperialism over the region, the various spectrum of democracy that exists throughout Central Asia, how young people are remaking these countries (often to the chagrin of the gerontocratic authoritarians who too often are in control) and why Central Asia deserves far more attention and reporting than it currently receives.
For more with Joanna, please follow her on Twitter or purchase her book!
Image is shared under CC 2.0, Photographer is Steve Evans: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Young_Uzbekistani_boys_at_a_mosque_in_Uzbekistan.jpg
Music is by ESKRY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqpJOU2ny6U
Eli Friedman: Free Mengzhu(盟主)! On Labor Organizing in China's Gig Economy
I spoke to Eli Friedman of Cornell University on arrested delivery driver / labor organizer Mengzhu (盟主), and China's Gig Economy.
We discuss Mengzhu, his amazing life story, and his even more incredible organizing of China's delivery workers. We then discuss why such an amazing worker would be violently suppressed and imprisoned by the 'Communist' party of China.
This dovetails with a conversation on why the Gig Economy has taken such a large role in China's economy, how this Gig economy brutally exploits China's workers, and how we can build an international labor movement to oppose companies like Uber, Door Dash, Meituan or Ele.me in both the US and China.
For more on Mengzhu's case we recommend reading Emily Feng's great article in NPR: https://www.npr.org/2021/04/13/984994360/he-tried-to-organize-workers-in-chinas-gig-economy-now-he-faces-5-years-in-jail
As well as following the twitter account Free Chen Guojiang 关注盟主 ( Twitter: @FGuojiang ) for updates on his case and how international comrades can help.
And lastly for a fantastic print article on the horrific conditions and explotation that China's delivery drivers endure, we highly recommend the Chuang Collective's translation of the 人物 feature on these topics: https://chuangcn.org/2020/11/delivery-renwu-translation/
Beat by Gold Streak Beats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztKSVF06cVI
Let Let Sein on Myanmar: The Violence they've Suffered, The Hope that's Endured, & How the World can Help
I had the honor of speaking to Let Let Sein (a pseudonym) a brave Shan/Karen ethnic women on the ground in Myanmar.
We discuss how protesters are using strikes/mutual aid/digital activism and street protests to fight for democracy, the inhuman violence that Myanmar's Military (Tatmadaw) dictatorship is using to brutally claim power, and how the world can help Myanmar's protesters and freedom struggle.
For more resources on Myanmar I would recommend the following:
Justice for Myanmar: http://justiceformyanmar.org/
Mutual Aid Myanmar: https://www.mutualaidmyanmar.org/
Scholar Geoff Aung: https://nplusonemag.com/online-only/online-only/dead-generations/
Scholar Chu May Paing: https://www.instagram.com/lionwithaflowingmane/?hl=en
The Newgroups Myanmar Now & The Irrawaddy: https://www.myanmar-now.org/en , https://www.irrawaddy.com/
Organizers Breanna Randall & Theo Htet: https://speakupformyanmar.com/ , https://twitter.com/theohtet
And Historian Edith Mirante: https://www.projectmaje.org/
The photo is of murdered protester Kyal Sin, also know as Angel or (邓家希) who has become a martyr and symbol of these protests. Her tee-shirt reads ' everything will be OK'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Kyal_Sin
Music by Prod. Riddiman: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdSuKogXJOZld5Dzw_9285w
Shahram Khosravi: Home without Homeland, The Violence of Borders & Imagining a World without Them
To discuss the violence of Borders & Global North Immigration, I was honored to speak w. Shahram Khosravi of Stockholm University. Dr. Khosravi is the author of several books (on Art, Iran, Sweden), but it is his work '"Illegal'" Traveler: An Auto-Ethnography of Borders' that we discuss most extensively today.
Dr. Khosravi discusses the violence he faced as an 'illegal' migrant fleeing Iran for Sweden, how migrants today face even worse violence and exclusion from Global North countries, how welfare for Swedish citizens that excludes migrants reinforces segregation, and how we can build a world without borders and the Nation-State.
For more w. Dr. Khosravi please check out his group: Critical Border Studies & please pick up a copy of "'Illegal' Traveler" after listening, it is a life-changing book.
Music is by H3 Music: https://www.youtube.com/c/H3Music/videos?view=0&sort=p&flow=grid
Vicky Osterweil: On Maroonage & Abolition in the Anthropocene (Conclusion)
This is the conclusion (part 2) of our conversation w. Writer & Agitator Vicky Osterweil, Author of 'In Defense of Looting'.
In our conclusion we discuss how several prominent academics have tried to wield the violence of the state as a force of liberation, and why this is a dead-end for abolition.
Turing to the future we end by looking at the visions of Russell Maroon Shoatz & Achille Mbembe and their frameworks of Maroonage & Black Lives in the Anthropocene as ways forward for scholarship and revolution.
For more w. Vicky, please follow her on Twitter @Vicky_ACAB
And please buy her book from any non- Amazon platform, such as Bookshop:https://bookshop.org/books/in-defense-of-looting-a-riotous-history-of-uncivil-action/9781645036692
Music by Gold Steak Beats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq8OovnOuKE
Photo from Russell Maroon Shoatz's Website: https://russellmaroonshoats.wordpress.com/about/
Hyo Yoon Kang - On IP Law, Monopolies & Why We Don't have a People's Vaccine for Covid-19
Even the most pessimistic of predictions, could not have foreseen the lack of global cooperation during the Covid-19 Pandemic. To try and help untangle this Gordian Knot I spoke to Hyo Yoon Kang, an Academic and Legal Theorist at the University of Kent.
From countries using 'Vaccine Nationalism' to engender loyalty from citizens, to Big Pharma jealously guarding IP even if it means more global deaths, to the Gates Foundation encouraging 'Vaccine Apartheid' in the name of defending Capitalism, I discuss why the worst pandemic in recent memory has brought out the most selfish of behavior from corporations and government in a time when cooperation is needed more than ever.
For more with Hyo Yoon, I highly recommend her long-form article here on the legal implications of Covid-19: https://criticallegalthinking.com/2021/02/09/patent-capital-in-the-covid-19-pandemic-critical-intellectual-property-law/
Music by H3 Music: https://www.youtube.com/c/H3Music/videos
Very through and informative
I listened to the episode with Neha Dixit and i haven’t looked back since. In-depth discussions on very broad array of topics & highly recommended.
If you consider yourself a progressive, or someone who is interested in understanding global events and issues beyond a superficial level, this podcast is a must.
Engaging and interesting discussions from all parts of the world I probably wouldn’t be able to point out on a map, Keep up the great work!